Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Do You Get for Five Dollars at Five Below?

No pictures today, since I am working on setting up my new computer, as the old war horse no longer wants to take a charge after three years.  However, I'm not sure what a picture of a 1988 Topps UK Nolan Ryan or a 1992 Leaf Wade Boggs would do to lift the quality of this post.

Five Below for the uninitiated is a store where every product is five dollars or less, essentially the inflationary, evolutionary dollar store, which in itself, is nothing more than a modern five and dime.  One product they do have is sportscards.  Not just baseball, but a fairly decent cross section of cards.  There were football cards and 2012 Topps WWE Heritage in an unsearched drop box.  Amidst the rows of in-season football cards, there were a few boxes of baseball cards.  Each repack box comes with four packs and a bonus box of 100 cards.  The boxes are sealed in such a way you cannot see what is inside, unlike the four pack repacks at your local Target or Walmart, where they tease you with a pack of 2011 Topps Lineage to hide the 2008 Upper Deck and 2007 Fleer.

Knowing the risks, I pressed forward and gave the cashier five dollars and change to cover the sales tax and went home to look at the cards.  OK, I opened the box in the parking lot to see what packs were inside, but then opened the packs at home.

What Packs Were Inside?

2 Packs of 2008 Upper Deck First Edition Update - Aside from a picture of Matt Capps, facing the camera holding a baseball, nothing of note was found in these packs, which is a surprise to no one who opened any of these packs.  As an aside, for those who think letting Upper Deck back into making baseball cards would be good for the hobby, look at some late year Upper Deck and say that with a straight face.

1 Pack of 2007 Fleer Ultra - There was a Jesus Flores Ultra Rookie in the pack.  I think the less said here, the better.

1/2 Pack of 1989 Topps containing 50 cards - It seems Topps made gigantic rack packs in 1989 containing 100 cards, plus a special Rookie card.  While sealed, I am a little disappointed that half the pack counted as one of my four packs of cards.  It could be worse, since they could have taken a Topps rack pack with three separate compartments and called it three packs, but this is only marginally better.

Despite that, this was by far the best pack to open.  There were fifty cards in the pack, five of which were Hall of Famers - Ozzie Smith, Mike Schmidt (on the back of the pack at that), Dennis Eckersley, George Brett and Roberto Alomar.  I remember collecting these cards in my youth and would have been incredibly excited to find a pack of 100 cards or 1/8 of a set in a single, non-vending box package.

What Are the 100 Included Cards?

First, there were 102 cards included in the box.  Below are some quick stats before we break it down by publisher.

Oldest Card - 1982 Donruss Randy Niemann - Despite last appearing for the Houston Astros in 1980, Niemann is wearing an Astros jersey on the card, despite being a Pirate.  Actually, I was impressed by the lack of airbrushing on this card.

Newest Card - 1999 Just Memorabilia Fernando Seguignol - He was a member of the Ottawa Lynx at the time.  This also serves as the only minor league card in the package.

Cards Not in English - 1 -1993 Pacific Jose Oquendo and Luis Alicea in Spanish

Hall of Famers - 6 - 1994 Upper Deck Fun Pack Dennis Eckersley, 1992 Leaf Wade Boggs, 1989 Donruss Tony Gwynn, 1988 Topps UK Paul Molitor, 1988 Topps UK Andre Dawson, 1988 Topps UK Nolan Ryan.  There is also a 1991 Topps Craig Biggio itching to make it seven by 2015.

Checklists - 2 -1987 Topps and 1988 Fleer

100 Cards by Publisher and Year

Donruss - 24 - 1982 - 1; 1988 - 5; 1989 - 13 (including two Todd Frohwirths); 1990 - 3; 1992 - 1; 1993 - 1 (Andy Benes for the interested).

Fleer - 13 - 1987 -3 (All Kansas City Royals); 1988 - 4 (including checklists organized by team, which is actually fairly smart if you release all of the cards at once); 1989 - 3; 1990 - 1 (Tom Brunansky as a Cardinal); 1991 - 1; 1993 - 1

Fleer Ultra - 3 - 1991 - 3

Just Memorabilia - 1 - 1999 - 1

Leaf - 1 - 1992 Wade Boggs

Pacific - 1 - 1993 Jose Oquendo and Luis Alicea in Espanol.  

Score - 5 - 1988 - 1; 1991 - 1; 1992 - 2; 1994 - 1 (Rich Rodriguez in the classiest scorecard...a low title indeed)

Topps - 34 - 1986 - 6 (including Ron Cey and Tommy John); 1987 - 9 (Including Ron Cey again and a checklist, a fairly pro-Penguin repack box); 1988 - 1; 1989 - 2; 1991 - 16 (Includes Mike Scott bunting, which I might already own 15 of)

Topps Gallery - 1 - 1996 Todd Greene

Topps Stadium Club - 1 -1993 Jeff Frye

Topps UK - 10 - 1988 - 10 (Including Parker, Canseco, Mattingly, McGwire and Dale Murphy in addition to the other Hall of Famers)

Upper Deck - 8 - 1991 - 5 (Including Dale Murphy as a Phillie); 1992 - 2 (Doug Glanville Top Prospect); 1994 - 1

Conclusion

The box delivered for me.  I appreciated the older cards and enjoyed the memories.  The actual packs themselves were terrible aside from the 1989 Topps.  When you fail next to a pack of 1989 Topps, you probably shouldn't be making cards anymore.  I did get 11 hall of famers, a bunch of interesting players and spent far more time with these cards than expected.  I'm not saying run out and get one, but if you need a trip down memory lane, there are far worse things you can spend $5 on. 

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